What does Macbeth express in his soliloquy at the end of act 2, scene 1?

In his famous "bloody dagger" soliloquy at the end of act 2, scene 1, Macbeth is on the brink of murdering Duncan. He expresses the horror of this act first by stating that he sees a bloody dagger in front of him. After deciding that it is hallucination, he notes that nature itself seems dead and says that he needs to act, not talk. Finally, a bell tolls, and he moves to complete the horrible deed.

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In the first part of this soliloquy, Macbeth first hallucinates seeing a bloody dagger. He can see it, but he cannot touch it. After questioning if the dagger is real or a vision, he decides that it is a vision that has emerged from his horror about killing Duncan ...

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In the first part of this soliloquy, Macbeth first hallucinates seeing a bloody dagger. He can see it, but he cannot touch it. After questioning if the dagger is real or a vision, he decides that it is a vision that has emerged from his horror about killing Duncan, saying,

There's no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes.
As he edges toward the very brink of entering Duncan's chambers to murder him, having dismissed the warning of the bloody dagger, he notes that nature seems "dead." He thinks of Hecate, who sacrificed her children, and of the howling wolf, associated with death. He alludes, too, to Tarquin, an evil, murderous tyrant. As he walks towards Duncan, he asks that the earth not hear him, for what he is about to do is so horrible that the stones would "prate," or speak of it. Macbeth goes on to say that while he "threats," or makes threats about what he is going to do, Duncan remains alive. Macbeth needs to replace his words with action.
At this point, he hears the bell that "invites" him to go forward and murder Duncan. Macbeth ends with the thought that the "knell" of the bell will "summon" Duncan to heaven or hell, meaning that the murder Macbeth is about to commit will give Duncan no chance to repent of his sins or prepare himself for death.
The soliloquy contributes to the mood of growing horror that Shakespeare creates as Macbeth moves step by step from contemplating murdering the king to now being seconds away from the deed. The soliloquy uses intense, heightened language and imagery, heavy with symbolism, allusion, and alliteration, which mirrors the heightened emotions of this dramatic moment. This is the very last gasp before Macbeth's life changes irrevocably—a moment saturated in horror.
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There is much that Macbeth expresses through his soliloquy, including guilt, ambitiousness, and the relationship between the ideas of fate and free will.

Macbeth, in working himself up to the murder of his king, is filled with hesitancy and doubt. He begins to see a hallucination before his eyes, that of a bloodstained dagger pointing to Duncan's sleeping chambers. Macbeth is immediately aware of the illusory nature of the dagger, calling it a product of his "heat-oppressed brain."

However, as Macbeth continues, he recalls the witches and considers fate and the evil things in the world. It is here that it becomes unclear whether the dagger is indeed a result of Macbeth's guilt, or if it is a supernatural vision, sent to push him forward towards his own fate. After all, Macbeth is constantly doubting his ability to kill his own king, and perhaps it is the dagger that finally convinces him that the crime might as well have already been done. Macbeth says at the end of his soliloquy:

Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

This phrase means that the more he talks about doing the deed, the more he feels his courage to actually do it faltering. However, the phrasing is interesting. Macbeth is forcing the sensible and rational thoughts out of his mind in order to commit a crime that is made entirely of passion with no forethought to the variable future. He may as well be saying that "If I actually think about what I'm about to do, I won't do it." This would lead anyone to do just that, but Macbeth seems to believe that turning back at this point would be impossible even though it could easily be done. This is because Macbeth has already committed in his heart to fate, perhaps his own or perhaps that of the witches' making. From this point on, where free will ends and fate begins, or vice-versa, is hard to discern.

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Macbeth's soliloquy at the end of act 2, scene 1 is the famous "dagger" speech. Fueled by his ambition, Macbeth plans to kill the king in his sleep in order to become the king himself, but in this speech he expresses hesitancy and guilt at the thought of carrying through with his plans.

This guilt manifests in a hallucination of a dagger. Macbeth narrates his actions as he imagines that he sees the fatal instrument in the air in front of him ("Is this a dagger which I see before me?"), yet when he tries to grab the handle he discovers he cannot ("I have thee not, and yet I see thee still"). In response to this vision he draws his own dagger from his belt as a point of comparison. This will be the weapon that he uses to kill King Duncan. In the lines,

Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;

And such an instrument I was to use.

it becomes clear that Macbeth believes the hallucination to be a portent, guiding him towards the murder he is about to commit. It points his way forward.

As he continues to hallucinate, the "dagger of the mind" begins to drip with blood, a symbol of his guilt. The tone of the monologue is fearful, with Macbeth repeatedly trying to snap out of it, so to speak, and convince himself that he's just seeing things:

There's no such thing:

It is the bloody business which informs

Thus to mine eyes.

Though here Macbeth seems to argue that the hallucination is caused by his impending crime, he then goes on to talk about witches and witchcraft. The fearful tone combined with the violent imagery makes it unclear whether this hallucination is supernatural in origin or indeed just a manifestation of Macbeth's guilty conscience. Both are possible within the world of the play.

Macbeth's musings on the vision and the deed he is about to commit are interrupted by the sound of a bell, a signal from his wife that the king's guards are drugged to sleep and the time for action is now. If the hallucinated dagger was a portent meant to warn Macbeth not to murder the king, he ultimately ignores it, proceeding with his original plan despite any guilt or hesitation he may feel.

I go, and it is done; the bell invites me.
Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell
That summons thee to heaven or to hell.

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